Jessica Dewhurst
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Jessica Dewhurst

Jessica Dewhurst
CEO of The Justice Desk
South Africa

Avance Media proudly recognizes Jessica Dewhurst in the distinguished 5th list of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2023. As a South African activist, founder, and CEO of “The Justice Desk,” Jessica has emerged as a powerful force driving change in the pursuit of justice, equality, and human rights.


Growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, Jessica Dewhurst confronted the stark disparities that belied the nation’s “Rainbow Nation” ideals. Witnessing inequality firsthand, she was inspired to harness her privilege as a white South African for justice. Guided by mentors Dr. Evona Rebelo and Brother Paul Hurley, her anger metamorphosed into a lifelong commitment to address societal injustices.


Jessica is the visionary leader behind “The Justice Desk,” an international non-profit organization dedicated to human rights. Her journey from anger to activism has garnered recognition from leaders, royalty, and global organizations. She has been hailed as one of Africa’s and South Africa’s most inspiring youth, earning accolades from the South African presidency, Prince Edward, Countess Sophie, The Obama Foundation, and Lead SA.


Jessica’s advocacy has attracted attention globally, drawing praise from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Their endorsement highlighted her commitment to doing what is right, describing it as inspiring, energizing, and extraordinary. Awards, including Glamour Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” and The Queen’s Young Leaders award, reflect her relentless activism.


Under Jessica’s leadership, The Justice Desk operates in seven African countries, impacting over 2 million lives. The organization educates, trains, and empowers individuals to become Human Rights Defenders. Jessica believes in the transformative power of everyday activism, especially among the youth, to dismantle systemic inequalities rooted in the nation’s history.


Jessica’s journey to justice began at 14 when she volunteered in NGOs, working with vulnerable children. Two pivotal experiences defined her path. The first involved a camp leader, Lindiwe, whose life mirrored Jessica’s, yet differed due to racial and systemic injustices. The second, at 18, was a violent attack that challenged Jessica’s perception of societal issues. These events ignited her commitment to fighting for fundamental human rights.


Jessica is not merely an activist; she is a force to be reckoned with, challenging gender-based violence, human trafficking, and unjust policies. She leverages her advocacy to address presidents, prime ministers, royalty, and global business leaders, urging real and effective action in accountability, transparency, justice, and change.


Jessica Dewhurst, as CEO of The Justice Desk, continues to catalyze change and dismantle the status quo. Her journey, marked by resilience and a commitment to creating a more just world, positions her as a true influencer in the realms of justice, human rights, and equality. Join The Justice Desk as they transform fundamental human rights from words on paper into the lived realities of people across Africa.


In recognition of her unwavering dedication to justice, Jessica Dewhurst stands among the 100 Most Influential African Women in 2023. As a true change-maker, her impact resonates across continents, inspiring a generation to stand up against injustice and advocate for fundamental human rights. Jessica Dewhurst’s legacy, shaped by compassion, resilience, and activism, continues to transform lives and pave the way towards a more equitable world.